CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton took a trip down memory lane Thursday while campaigning for his wife, Hillary Clinton, warmly reminiscing about his own rallies in Iowa during the 1990s and the economic boom that coincided with his two terms in the White House.
Clinton resisted being pulled backed into the scandals that also defined his political past. He brushed aside a question about Republican front-runner Donald Trump's recent references to decades-old sex scandals and allegations, saying there will be "plenty of time" to discuss those matters if Trump becomes president.
"I don't want to be involved in their politics or do anything except trying to help Hillary," Clinton said as he wrapped up a stop at a market in Cedar Rapids, where he spent an hour shaking hands, posing for selfies and sampling the local fare, including a green fruit and vegetable smoothie.
Trump has been raising concerns about the former president whose sex scandals touched off his impeachment by the House, seeking to take some of the shine off Bill Clinton's highly anticipated return to campaigning.
Until now, Clinton has largely stayed out of the spotlight as his wife makes a second bid for the Democratic nomination. But he's expected to be a more visible presence in the lead-up to the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses and Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary.
The former president spoke to two packed ballrooms in eastern Iowa, with 500 people at an event in Cedar Rapids and the same-size crowd at an evening rally in Dubuque. He touted his wife's experience and qualifications for president at length, calling her "the best change-maker I ever saw."
"She will try to knit the country back together," Clinton said.
Clinton also sharply criticized congressional Republicans for their latest attempt to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care law, particularly without having any ideas for what they would replace it with.
"Do we need to do some work on it? Yeah," he said. "The last thing in the world we need to do is scrap it."
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